2012 Honorees


Immigrant Entrepreneur Leadership Award, Clementine Msengi

Immigrant Leadership Award is given to a first generation immigrant who has demonstrated leadership and an entrepreneurial spirit in his/her professional and family life and on behalf of the immigrant and/or larger community. A native of Rwanda, Clementine Msengi relocated to Cedar Falls, Iowa, after a war in her country, which killed nearly 1 million people, including most of her family. Msengi started the non-profit organization, Bright Move Network, which helps immigrants and refugees from Africa to the Cedar Valley area become self-sufficient, stable, and ease into the cultural shock that they face when adjusting to a new lifestyle. Her leadership has awarded her the New Voices Fellowship in 2001 as well as visiting assistant professor at Lamar University in Texas.

Outstanding Immigrant Business Award, Betty Garcia

Outstanding Immigrant Business Award is given to an immigrant-owned business that serves as a model and inspiration of success in both profit and philanthropy. The recipient of the Immigrant Business Award, Betty Garcia, owner of Tortillera Sonora, and her family started their business in a small storefront, making tortillas from a family recipe. Now run in a factory, their company produces more than 25,000 tortillas daily. The hard work, ethics and values that are instilled have earned Betty and her family success.

Karen Evans Award, Kim Baer

Named after Karen Evans, who fought for immigrant rights and helped many maintain legal status, the Karen Evans Immigrant Champion Award is given to a non-immigrant who is dedicated to making a positive impact on the immigrant community. Kim Baer, attorney with Wandro & Baer & P.C., represents clients in medical malpractice claims, car accident litigation, and wrongful death suits, and has been an active supporter of IES since its inception. Baer’s contributions to small- and medium-sized businesses have been essential to the success of IES.

Immigrant Spirit Award, Liang Chow

The Immigrant Spirit Award is given to a first generation Immigrant who has demonstrated a lifelong commitment to professional/business excellence and altruistic pursuits. Coach to Olympic gold medalists Shawn Johnson and Gabby Douglas, Liang Chow has instilled big dreams to young people all over the world. Chow’s success has shown the importance of embracing diversity as well as achieving social awareness through business.

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